HY5129115SP1OL Brasher 2 Essay

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HY 512-91 Reading Seminar: Early National Period America
Spring1, 2015
Dr. Glenn D. Brasher
Phone: (205) 310-2226
Email: gbrasher@uwa.edu


This class will examine the formative years of the United States, from our successful establishment of a republican government to the War of 1812. Along the way, we will delve into the creation of American culture and party politics, and focus in on the presidency of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

CREDIT- 3 hours


The ability to read and write critically are essential for you to succeed in this course. While advanced knowledge of Early National history is not required, the readings do not provide a comprehensive narrative and most assume at least some prior knowledge. Therefore, it is highly suggested that students consult a good college level textbook to strengthen and/or refresh their knowledge of the basic events and themes of Early National history BEFORE tackling the assigned books for this course.


Berkin, A Brilliant Solution. ISBN 0156028727

Ellis, Founding Brothers. ISBN 0375705244

Hickey, The War of 1812; A Short History. ISBN 0252064305

McDonald, Presidency of George Washington. ISBN 070060359X

NOTE: The book reviews are all due by 11:59 PM on the date indicated. All due dates are Mondays. ** NO PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED LATER THAN THE FRIDAY OF THE WEEK IN WHICH THE PARTICULAR BOOK WAS ASSIGNED. Any papers received after that time will receive a grade of zero. NO EXCEPTIONS** The introductory email is due by Friday, January 16 at 5 PM.
1. Paper due, Jan 26
Berkin, A Brilliant Solution
2. Paper due, Feb 9
McDonald, Presidency of George Washington
3. Paper due Feb 23
Ellis, Founding Brothers
4. Paper due March 2 Hickey, War of 1812
Final Exam via Remote Proctor: To be taken at the student’s convenience on either March 3rd or 4th (by 5:00 PM).

Book Reviews: Students will produce critical essays for each assigned text (there are four), and each review will be 800 words minimum, 1200 words maximum. All papers must be written in Microsoft Word or in Corel WordPerfect. (Microsoft Word is STRONGLY preferred). Collectively, they will account for 90% of your final grade, (10% for the first, 20% for the second, and 30% for each of the last two) and will be graded for content as well as style. In computing final grades, evolution in your writing style over the course is considered. Therefore, students whose work demonstrates significant improvement from the beginning to the end of the course will overcome a poor grade on one or more of the early essays.

A critical book review is NOT simply re-telling the plot and events of the book. In fact, you should summarize this information in no more than two paragraphs, preferably one. I already know what happens in the book. You are required to analyze the arguments and theses advanced by the author. The purpose of your reviews is to communicate what you learned from the book, what the author was trying to do, how they did it, and to provide your assessment of their success or failure. Explain how the author used facts to make their point. If you believe the author’s logic to be sound, point that out. Likewise, if you find what you believe to be a failure in their logic or in the manner in which they used their sources, point that out.

Here is a breakdown of what constitutes a successful paper. This list should be considered an outline that your papers must adhere to in order to receive a high grade:

1. Each review MUST begin with an introductory paragraph which quickly introduces the book and its argument, and foreshadows your assessment of its success or failure at meeting its goals.

2. That MUST be followed by a one or two paragraph summation of what the book was about. Often this is a difficult task—breaking down a 200-300 page book in one or two paragraphs—but the practice of